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African countries have made significant steps in nuclear science development under the guidance of the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) and its key member states. IAEA organizes a rolling program of training and courses for African professionals from across the continent to gain knowledge and skills in the nuclear field.
The results from East African countries are already substantial. With the help of international training and assistance Tanzanian doctors are now able to deliver more precise radiation cancer treatment with no harm to healthy tissue through 3D scanning.
“We now have the skills to more fully understand the extent of a tumor and ultimately plan better and more precise treatment for our patients,” said Dr Mark Mseti, a radiation oncologist at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam, which receives technical support and equipment through the IAEA.
The organisation is not alone in these efforts to strengthen the nuclear infrastructure of developing countries. The IAEA and Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom have reached an agreement aimed at encouraging IAEA assistance to member states that are considering introducing nuclear power or expanding an existing program.
In Zambia the international assistance led to drastic improvements in the medical sector. The country will expand its cancer treatment facilities and the officials are planning to launch a challenging project to expand medical services in the country given the successful operation of Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Lusaka, which has treated 16,000 people in the last decade.
The development of nuclear science made it possible for Zambia to make gains in improving the living standards of people. In this context Zambian government decided to embark on the path of establishing up its own nuclear science and technology program in collaboration with Russia and Rosatom. The parties have already signed several agreements to start construction of the Zambian Centre for Nuclear Science and Technologies, which will be equipped with laboratories and functional systems for scientific research as well as a multi-purpose research reactor.
The centre will make it possible to conduct research in the radiobiology sphere and establish production of radioisotopes in Zambia for wide application in cancer diagnostics and treatment. It will also provide staff training for the local nuclear industry.